The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, May 24, 2015


It's our recap of the stories that mattered most in Indian country:

CONGRATS, GRADS: This year’s graduating class at Arizona State University was special because it may have included the largest group of Native American doctoral graduates to ever collect degrees at one time.

GREAT IDEA: A congressman from Washington State has proposed renaming the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

OPPOSITION: Russell Begaye, the newly elected president of the Navajo Nation, has taken a firm stance against the Grand Canyon Escalade. Begaye says he will not support the Escalade, a billion-dollar project that would allow for commercial development on the canyon’s south rim and run a gondola from the top of the canyon to an elevated walkway a mile below.

FIGHTING THE MINE: The San Carlos Apache tribe continues its battle with Resolution Copper Co. over the issue of sacred land at Oak Flats. The mining company wants to get started on its $61.4 billion operation.  Tribal opposition to prevent that from happening is gathering strength.

MAKING THE A-TEAM: Shoni Schimmel’s record-setting, MVP performance in last year’s WNBA All-Star Game proved to the world that she is a rising star. Now, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla guard heads into her second season with the Atlanta Dream, ready to rise to new heights.

THIS FIGHT'S NOT OVER: Kelly Hughes Depczynski, a woman who agreed Native Americans should “go back to the reservation,” was elected to the Lancaster Central School Board in upstate New York on May 19. Lancaster High School recently voted to retire its Redskins mascot.

CHANGE CHAMPIONS: The White House on Tuesday honored Daryle Conquering Bear Crow, 27, and Eriq Swiftwater, 19, both Oglala Lakota. The two are among the 12 individuals who were selected by the White House as Champions of Change – a program geared toward recognizing “individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.”

BIG BUCKS: A new report by a professor at Oklahoma City University shows that the Cherokee Nation has a $1.5 billion impact on Oklahoma’s economy, a 50 percent boost since a previous report from 2012.

NEW GROOVE: A Tribe Called Red have released a new EP, and wrestling fans will no doubt love the name: Suplex. The video for "Suplex" has been posted online as well.

NOT FUNNY: Actor Jesse Eisenberg's latest humor piece for The New Yorker, "Men and Dancing," contains a dialogue is between two characters, "Chief" and "Squaw," who are discussing Chief's reluctance to do a "rain dance" in front of the Tribe.

PROTEST: At least 300 people rallied outside a hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota last week after a nurse there was caught on video making disparaging remarks about Native Americans. The nurse was fired by the Rapid City Regional Hospital after she sent racially charged Snapchat messages to minors and was taped cussing out Native Americans.

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